Bhubaneswar: Two days after Congress’ massive protest in Puri, a delegation of State BJP today met Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb in his residence here and sought his intervention in opening of the Ratna Bhandar of Shree Jagannath Temple.
The delegation led by former President Samir Mohanty, comprising Puri MLA Jayant Sarangi, Bramhagiri MLA Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra and senior advocate and leader Pitambar Acharya.
Team BJP said the Ratna Bhandar was opened for inventory 45 years ago in 1978. Though Shree Jagannath Temple Act, 1955 has provisioned the opening of the temple’s treasury for inventory every three years, the BJD government has ignored it.
During its 24-year tenure, the BJD Government always avoided inventory of the treasury. This has led to suspicion and public outcry among Lord Jagannath devotees across the country, they said.
Since Gajapati Maharaja is also the Chairman of Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee, the BJP leaders sought his intervention to recommend the Government to open the Ratna Bhandar without delay.
Shri Mohanty, who filed a PIL in Orissa High Court seeking an order to the government for reopening of the Ratna Bhandar for necessary repairs and inventory, said the State Administration was yet to form a high-level committee for the purpose.
In the first week of August, the High Court had asked the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to constitute a high-level committee within two months for the purpose.
The High Court has clearly said that the State Government should reopen the Ratna Bhandar and make an inventory of the jewellery before two months from the day when the Srimandir Committee makes a formal request to the Government for the same, said Acharya.
On the other hand, senior BJD leader Nrusingha Charan Sahu accused the opposition BJP of playing politics over the sensitive issue. The HC has given its order and the temple managing committee will take decision in this regard, he said.
“When the BJP-BJD coalition Government was ruling the state, a BJP leader was serving as Law Minister. Why didn’t the BJP raise this issue during that period?” he asked.
On October 16, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) had taken out a protest rally in Puri for reopening of the Ratna Bhandar for necessary repairs and inventory of ornaments and valuables.
SJTA Chief Administrator Ranjan Kumar Das said the Ratna Bhandar is safe and no one should worry about it. He said the matter regarding the special committee would be discussed in the Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee meeting and the high court would be duly apprised in this regard.